4 TIPS TO NOT YELL AT YOUR RELATIVES DURING ThANKSGIVING Dinner

Thanksgiving is supposed to be about gratitude but for many people seeing family can heighten tension and nerves, especially when they have opposing political views. It’s easy to fall back into the patterns of your childhood and find yourself arguing with siblings or parents. Here are a few helpful tips to respond thoughtfully, ease stress, and avoid arguments.

1. ACKNOWLEDGE AND VALIDATE

When you feel your blood pressure rising and your voice getting louder, try this technique:

Stop the conversation and say “I want to take a moment and acknowledge that we have different viewpoints.”  These magical words give you permission to disagree and can be a breakthrough in moving the conversation forward to a more productive tone or subject. I’m on my coop board and I constantly remind myself that while I may have different opinions than my neighbors, we all share the same goal of making our building a pleasant place to live.

2. ADVANCE PREPARE FOR THE DREADED QUESTION

Your mother, aunt, grandparent is not asking you those questions to torture you, despite what it might feel like. They care about you, and are interested in what you’re doing, and unfortunately that sometimes shows up in the form of  interrogating questions.

How’s your job search?

How’s business?

How’s single life?

Answer with something simple like “It continues” and change the subject by asking them a question. Read ideas here.

3. REFRAME THE SITUATION

If you go in planning to have a bad time, chances are you’ll have a bad time. So if you’re feeling uneasy about Thanksgiving dinner, how can you reframe the situation?

Is it an exercise to practice tolerance, use your best listening skills, free dinner and drinks?

4. USE I STATEMENTS:

When you feel yourself getting defensive, try to steer clear of “You’re stressing me out" or  "you’re pissing me off” and use this formula:

You make me feel ________________(emotion) when you __________________ (do this action).

It removes some of the finger pointing and allows all parties to take responsibility for how they’re feeling.

Want help speaking up and sharing your ideas? Get 10 Tips to Stop Panicking and Start Speaking.

Madeline Schwarz
3 TIPS TO BUILD YOUR SPEAKING CONFIDENCE AT HOME

Public speaking is scary and even the most experienced speakers get nervous. The good news is public speaking is not a god-given talent.

It’s a skill that can be learned, just like softball or knitting.

The good news is you don't have to be a natural performer BUT you do have to practice.

The best way to get comfortable speaking in front of a group is to practice in front of a group. If that's more terrifying than you can imagine, here are a few easy tips to practice at home.

 

1. PRACTICE YOUR PRESENTATION IN THE MIRROR.

This is a great way to get immediate feedback and get used to seeing yourself speak. That might feel awkward but that's the point because once you get comfortable watching yourself, it will feel less scary when you stand up in front of other people.

 

2. PRACTICE YOUR PRESENTATION FOR A DOG.

Dogs make very understanding audiences. Check out this New York Times article: How to Give a Better Speech: Talk to a Dog

 

3. PRACTICE STANDING AND SPEAKING IN OPEN, POWERFUL POSTURES.

Watch Amy Cuddy's TED talk on presence Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are and try out power poses.

Want more tips? Download 7 Practice Strategies to Rock Your Presentation. They’re free!

Madeline Schwarz
LEARNING TO LOVE TYPOS

My parents divorced when I was young and my sister and I spent our summers and school vacations in West Virginia with my dad. In the evenings we played tennis and then came home and played Boggle, but this was no ordinary game of Boggle. My dad credits our high SAT verbal scores to years of playing boggle. We were allowed to use words we couldn’t define with one caveat- we had to look them up in the big blue Webster dictionary. My dad would take notes and quiz us at the next evening’s Boggle game.

Starting at age 8, as part of the custody agreement, my sister and I had to write weekly letters to my dad and enclose school assignments from each class. We would send our graded papers and he would send them back, with comments. More than once, an A+ paper from a teacher returned from dad with a lot of red ink and less than stellar reviews.

My dad was a journalist at the Charleston Gazette for 25 years and I credit him with my writing skills, love of language, and overly zealous proofreading tendencies.

I recently read Brene Brown's Daring Greatly and The Gifts of Imperfection and was struck by her writing on perfectionism. She defines perfectionism as:

“a self-destructive and addictive belief system that fuels this primary thought: “If I look perfect, live perfectly, and do everything perfectly, I can avoid or minimize the painful feelings of shame, judgment, and blame.”

While I identified as having perfectionist tendencies, I never identified perfectionism as so debilitating. I have committed to stepping away from perfectionism and I am slowly embracing the idea of being imperfect and whole. So as I hit publish with trepidation, exposing my imperfect self in a very public way, I am reminding myself there are worse things than typos. So if you find them here, I ask for your forgiveness and more importantly, I promise to forgive myself.

Madeline Schwarz